Sask. diamond mine project on hold for rest of 2022

The completion of first bulk sample at a proposed diamond mine in April 2020. (Submitted/Rio Tinto)

Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. intends to conduct a near-term review of its alternatives regarding the Star–Orion South Diamond Project, including its potential exit, according to Star Diamond Corporation.

Late last year, the two firms entered into a joint venture agreement that settled all disputes over the development of a proposed diamond mine project in Fort à la Corne, Sask.

But in a June 28 meeting, Rio Tinto also decided to continue to keep the project on care and maintenance through Dec. 31, 2022, Star Diamond says. The project has been on care and maintenance for 18 months, according to a Star Diamond spokesperson.

Rio Tinto does not intend to commit additional capital to the project during 2022 beyond what is necessary for care and maintenance.

"The board of directors of Star Diamond is disappointed by these decisions," Star Diamond said in a news release.

"Star Diamond intends to work with Rio Tinto in assessing alternatives regarding the Project."